(b Mont-de-Marsan, 4 Nov. 1874; d Paris, 28 Oct. 1946).
French sculptor and illustrator. He was one of Rodin's assistants from 1907 to 1914, after which he turned from his master's intense, vigorous style to a more static, generalized manner in the vein associated with Maillol. His best-known works are his portrait busts, with their intimate delineation of character (Head of Madame Derain, 1922, Philips Coll., Washington). He also made several monuments. In the 1920s and 1930s his reputation stood very high in France, but at the end of his life he was ostracized because of his friendship with the Nazi sculptor Arno Breker (1900–91); they had known each other since before the war and in 1942 Despiau attended an exhibition of the German's work in occupied Paris.